Transitioning off of junk food to a healthier diet and ultimately a healthier lifestyle is a physical, mental and spiritual journey for many black women. We often underestimate the mental and spiritual roadblocks we’ll encounter. Checkout my tips below on how to kick your junk food habit once and for all.
Physically transitioning off of a junk food diet is tough but the key is to take baby steps. If you try to transition to a healthy diet overnight you’ll probably fail. You must set realistic expectations for your new healthy lifestyle. Try these three steps to kick your junk food habit.
1. Stop buying it
When you’re at the store, don’t buy your go-to junk food snacks. Cakes, cookies, chips, candy, ice cream anything prepackaged that usually gets you into trouble simply don’t purchase it. Choose one or two healthier replacement snacks. Your new healthy snacks don’t have to be perfect. The key is to make a better choice than your go to bag of Doritos. For example, swap ice cream with yogurt, chips with fruit and nut trail mix, candy bars for kind bars, etc.
2. Make your favorite recipes a bit healthier
Instead of introducing all new recipes all at once, try to make your favorite meals a bit healthier. Love deep-dish pepperoni pizza? Try a homemade thin crust veggie pizza. Swap fried chicken and mashed potatoes for oven baked chicken and faux mashed potatoes made with cauliflower. Every little swap adds up.
3. Only introduce one new healthy item per week
In the tradition of baby steps, don’t swap every thing in your fridge for something new. You’ll set yourself up to fail. Instead, try adding one new healthy item per week and buy it in small quantities just in case you don’t like it. Curious about kale chips? Try them out. Want try quinoa? Go for it. Remember you won’t like everything and some healthy items take a bit of time or just the right recipe to be suitable for you. The key is to try things slowly and don’t rule anything out until you’ve tried it a few times.
Mentally transitioning off of a junk food diet is even harder than the physical aspect. You have to really, really want to make changes in your life. You must have a support system around you or else you’ll most likely slip back into your old habits. If you can’t get anyone in your house to take the journey with you, join an online group or go an event or meet up in your city. Finding accountability and encouragement with like-minded individuals is one of the best ways to break the mental hold that junk food has over you. If you’re in Dallas, try going to the Black Vegetarian Society of Texas meetups and events.
Spiritual / Emotional
For a lot of us food is directly linked to our emotions. I’m not talking about eating a piece of cake at a celebration. I’m talking about eating because you’re stressed, anxious, sad, depressed, etc. If you find yourself heading for the fridge every time you’re in emotional turmoil, you might need to seek help. Most likely you’re using food to cover up or cope with a situation. I know there’s a stigma in the black community about counseling/ therapy but there’s nothing wrong with seeking help. You cant be your best/ healthiest self while dragging around emotional baggage. Ask around for a reputable counselor. If you’re too self conscious to talk about it, look to see what resources your insurance covers. A lot of times they have emergency employee services that cover 3 – 5 FREE counseling sessions.
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